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Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Purpose of review: Velo-cardio-facial syndrome has emerged from obscurity to become one of the most researched disorders this past decade. It is one of the most common genetic syndromes in humans, the most common contiguous gene syndrome in humans, the most common syndrome of cleft palate, and the most common syndrome of conotruncal heart malformations. Velo-cardio-facial syndrome has an expansive phenotype, a factor reflected in the wide range of studies that cover both clinical features and molecular genetics. In this review, we cover multiple areas of research during the past year, including psychiatric disorders, neuroimaging, and the delineation of clinical features.

Recent findings: The identification of candidate genes for heart anomalies, mental illness, and other clinical phenotypes has been reported in the past year with a focus on TBX1 for cardiac and craniofacial phenotypes and COMT and PRODH for psychiatric disorders. The expansive phenotype of velo-cardio-facial syndrome continues to grow with new behavioral and structural anomalies reported. Treatment issues are beginning to draw attention, although most authors continue to focus on diagnostic issues.

Summary: Its high population prevalence, estimated to be as common as 1:2000 has sparked a large amount of research, as has the model the syndrome serves for identifying the causes of mental illness and learning disabilities, but it is obvious that more information is needed. Intensive scrutiny of velo-cardio-facial syndrome will undoubtedly continue for many years to come with the hope that researchers will turn more of their attention to treatment and treatment outcomes.


Robert J. Shprintzen is affiliated with both Sacred Heart University and State University of New York Upstate Medical University.




Current Opinion in Pediatrics











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